Patterico's Pontifications


UC Irvine Recommends Suspension of Muslim Student Group

Filed under: Civil Liberties,Education — DRJ @ 9:14 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The University of California at Irvine has recommended a Muslim student group be suspended for one year.

UC President Mark Yudof said he played no role in the decision, while UC Irvine Law School President Erwin Chemerinsky was supportive, saying: “Given the seriousness of the offense, I think it’s completely appropriate to suspend them for a year.” Meanwhile, Jewish groups were heartened by the suspension, calling it a victory against hate speech, and Muslim students claimed it unfairly punished the group for the actions of a few.

Although both groups want to portray this in ways that promote their views, I think this is what most colleges do with a school organization that knowingly breaks the law. It’s no different than suspending a fraternity for intentional hazing. It’s not the speech or the arrests that got the Muslim student group in hot water; It’s that the arrests resulted from an intentional, coordinated decision by the group.

There’s more at aunursa’s Jury post.



Harvard Student Can Stay in U.S.

Filed under: Education,Immigration — DRJ @ 7:16 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

A Harvard University student who emigrated illegally from Mexico to Texas with his family at age 4 will be allowed to stay in the U.S. for an indeterminate period.

The student, Balderas, had been traveling on a Mexican passport until his most recent trip, when he tried to use a student I.D. after losing his passport. Immigration reform advocates point to cases like Balderas as reasons to support the DREAM Act, which would grant citizenship to illegal immigrant children who pursue some college education.


Colleges Post Tuition Increases

Filed under: Education — DRJ @ 6:01 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

College tuition is on the rise.

Florida’s state universities increased 2010-2011 tuition 15% for the second straight year, and the College of Charleston imposed a similar increase. Several Texas colleges saw tuition go up by 3-5%, with like changes at the Universities of Wisconsin and Louisville.

And according to this LA Times story, Cal State students will see their tuition go up 5%. Graduate and out-of-state students may see their fees go up even more.

With state funding down and college enrollments hitting record levels in 2008 and again in 2009, this isn’t a surprise. We may see similar increases at many colleges across the nation.



Resume Fraud

Filed under: Education — DRJ @ 3:09 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

A top administrator at Texas A&M University has resigned following disclosures about his resume.

This seems to be happening more, especially in higher education, although it could be that these stories are just getting more press. If it is more common, is resignation the solution or should something more be done?



Michelle Obama’s School Chefs

Filed under: Education,Obama — DRJ @ 7:02 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

At the White House today, First Lady Michelle Obama welcomed 500 everyday and celebrity chefs from 37 states who are joining to fight childhood obesity. Their goal is to increase the use of healthy foods in school lunches, pair chefs with local schools to collaborate on healthier menus, and reduce reliance on junk food in school cafeterias. That’s a worthwhile goal, both now and in 2005 when British celebrity chef Jamie Oliver pioneered it in his Feed Me Better school campaign.

It’s good to involve chefs but I don’t agree that chefs necessarily know a lot about nutrition, healthy foods, and how to plan economical menus. Chefs know taste, as evidenced by some of the hefty chefs (who will remain unnamed here) in our communities and on TV. Then again, perhaps health-focused chefs like Jamie Oliver will be more interested in this program and more likely to sign up for it.

So kudos to Michelle Obama for trying to improve school food in our communities with volunteer chefs. And kudos to Jamie Oliver for actually doing it.



Colleges Worried About Intern Rules

Filed under: Education,Obama — DRJ @ 5:56 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Colleges administrators are worried that the Obama Administration plans to crack down on unpaid internships:

“A group of university presidents and lawmakers on Capitol Hill are expressing alarm over what they fear could be a coming crackdown by the Obama administration Labor Department on popular student internship programs.

The Labor Department insists it has no plans to change the long-standing regulations on internships, but many educators and college officials say they fear a new regulatory push by the federal government and by a number of states will lead employers to simply drop their internship programs, seen by generations of college students and recent graduates as a key steppingstone into the work force.
Nancy J. Leppink, deputy administrator of the Wage and Hour Division, told the New York Times last month, “If you’re a for-profit employer or you want to pursue an internship with a for-profit employer, there aren’t going to be many circumstances where you can have an internship and not be paid and still be in compliance with the law.”

Drake’s Mr. Maxwell was one of 13 university presidents who signed a letter to Labor Secretary Hilda L. Solis, warning that the department’s recent enforcement actions and public statements “could significantly erode employers’ willingness to provide valuable and sought-after opportunities for American college students.”

I can understand why colleges fear losing internships. Internships can be a bridge to future jobs since students who have participated in internships are more likely to get job offers. In addition, students working as interns may also count as employed in some college employment statistics.

Last month, Hot Air noted inconsistencies in the Obama Administration’s announcements on interns, especially since the rules adversely impact private sector internships. Is the Obama Administration using labor rules to push students into non-profit and government internships and away from private sector employment?



Dean Kagan Eliminated Con Law (Updated x2)

Filed under: Education,Law — DRJ @ 10:16 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan made several changes as Dean of Harvard Law School. Many commentators have focused on her ban on military recruiting but CNS news reports on another major change — eliminating U.S. Constitutional law as a required course:

“As dean, Kagan won approval from the faculty in 2006 to make major changes to the Harvard Law’s curriculum.

“My understanding is that she instituted three new courses to the required curriculum and, in so doing, got rid of a requirement to take constitutional law,” Robert Alt, senior legal fellow and deputy director of the Center for Legal and Judicial Studies at the Heritage Foundation, told

“Currently, at Harvard, constitutional law is not required for first-year law students, or even for graduation,” Alt added.

Indeed, according to Harvard documents, constitutional law is not listed among the law school’s academic requirements, though the catalogue for 2010-2011 does list more than a dozen elective courses dealing with some form of constitutional law.

But in a 2006 Harvard news release explaining the changes, Kagan explained the move away from constitutional law was deliberate: “From the beginning of law school, students should learn to locate what they are learning about public and private law in the United States within the context of a larger universe — global networks of economic regulation and private ordering, public systems created through multilateral relations among states, and different and widely varying legal cultures and systems.

“Accordingly, the Law School will develop three foundation courses, each of which represents a door into the global sphere that students will use as context for U.S. law,” the guide said.”

American law students trained in the “global sphere … as context for U.S. law” instead of in U.S. Constitutional law? I don’t know what they call that in Boston. In Texas, we call that BS.


UPDATE: Media Matters points out an error in the CNS report because Harvard Law School had already dropped its Con Law requirement prior to Dean Kagan’s curriculum changes. As noted here, the prior curriculum encouraged students to take Con Law but it was not a required course.

UPDATE 2: My thanks to pizzathehut for his tenacity on this topic. The title of the post is in error since, unlike most of its top-tier brethren, Harvard Law did not require Con Law so the course wasn’t “eliminated” as a required course by Dean Kagan or her immediate predecessors. My apology for the error.


High Tech Cheating

Filed under: Education — DRJ @ 4:03 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

One hundred Denver Denver-area high school students had to retake a chemistry final exam because a few students cheated. Amazingly, the school’s principal seems to be making excuses for their cheating:

“A lot of kids are under pressure to do well grade-wise,” [principal Mike] Murphy said. “They are looking at college. Success is certainly something that drives people. These are good kids. They just made a bad choice.”

I hope Principal Mike will rethink his opinion since, not surprisingly, studies show that students who cheat grow up to be adults who cheat:

“The Josephson Institute of Ethics in October released a study that suggests cheating in high school is a significant predictor of lying and cheating across a wide range of adult situations.

Specifically, the survey of nearly 7,000 people in various age groups found that people who cheated two or more times in high school were three times as likely to lie to a customer, twice as likely to deceive their boss and 1 1/2 times as likely to lie to a spouse or cheat on their taxes.”



Profiling Terrorists in the U.S.

Filed under: Education,Terrorism — DRJ @ 10:22 am

[Guest post by DRJ]

For years, experts have warned of the myth that Al Qaeda terrorists are “poor, desperate, single young men from Third World countries, vulnerable to brainwashing.” Instead, as Dr. Marc Sageman told an international terrorism conference back in 2004:

Most Arab terrorists he studied were well-educated, married men from middle- or upper-class families, in their mid-20s and psychologically stable, said Sageman, a psychiatrist at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. Many of them knew several languages and traveled widely.

But when they settled in foreign countries, they became lonely, homesick and embittered, he said. They felt humiliated by the weakness and backwardness of their homelands. They formed tight cliques with fellow Arabs and drifted into mosques more for companionship than for religion. Radical preachers convinced them it was their duty to drive Americans from Muslim holy lands, killing as many as possible.”

That sounds a lot like the description of Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad and, apparently, his associates:

“Two men detained in Pakistan admitted with pride that they helped the suspect in the attempted Times Square bombing, and one of the men angrily accused his interrogators of “siding with the infidels,” a senior intelligence official said Saturday.

The pair are among six men officials say have been detained in Pakistan for alleged ties to Faisal Shahzad, a Pakistani-American arrested in the United States two days after the failed May 1 attack in New York. Like Shahzad, the detainees are all from their country’s urban elite, including several who were educated in the United States.

Details about the six were released late Friday, though officials have not said when they were detained. Five were picked up in the capital, Islamabad, and one is co-owner of a posh catering company that the U.S. Embassy said was suspected of ties to terrorist groups.

The intelligence official, part of the team questioning the men, cited the two suspects as saying they did not do anything wrong and “proudly” describing Shahzad as their friend.

The official said one of the suspects had even accused his interrogators of “siding with the infidels.”

The radical mosques seem to be a pivotal factor. In addition, I’m curious how much their American college experiences contributed to any feelings of discontent and anger.



Student Accused of Conning Harvard (Updated)

Filed under: Education — DRJ @ 1:50 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Do the best students go to colleges like Harvard? Maybe not:

“The 23-year-old Wheeler claimed he got a perfect score on the SAT, straight A’s at prestigious prep school Phillips Academy Andover and at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology on his application to Harvard in 2007, prosecutors said. In reality, he had never attended either school, Middlesex District Attorney Gerry Leone said.

Prosecutor John Verner said in court Tuesday that Wheeler essentially stole $45,000 in financial aid, scholarship money and academic awards from Harvard.

His web of academic deceit unraveled in September when he sought the school’s endorsement for Rhodes and Fulbright scholarships and a professor found evidence that he had plagiarized from another professor, Leone said.

“This defendant’s actions cheated those who competed honestly and fairly for admissions and for the scholarships that this defendant fraudulently obtained,” he said.

Wheeler, an English major who would have graduated from Harvard this spring, tried to transfer to Yale and Brown after he got caught at Harvard, Leone said, again by falsifying his achievements and recommendations.”

Wheeler’s parents blew the whistle on him when Yale’s admissions called to verify his application. If this story is true, they did him a favor.


UPDATE: Wheeler was also accepted at Stanford:

“Fool them once, shame on Harvard. Fool them twice … shame on Stanford?

Adam Wheeler, who is accused of scamming his way into Harvard University, apparently didn’t stop there.

After being kicked out of Harvard last fall for his alleged fraud, the 23-year-old applied to and was accepted to Stanford University
for the 2010-2011 school year, reported Wednesday.
Stanford has rescinded Wheeler’s acceptance.”

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